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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Studying Snowflakes

We went home early from school but we had time to study snowflakes with our magnifying glasses and black paper!  We took the paper back to the room and studied what happened!  We were amazed!

Black paper in classroom with melting snowflakes!
Before we went back to the room, we tried to catch snowflakes on out tongues!  They landed everywhere!
How many can I catch?

Magical Snowflakes Falling!

Check out BookFlix to read about snowflakes!  You can sign on with your library card!
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Click on the picture to go to Library site.

Read about Snowflake Bently by clicking on the picture!

Science Failure

We studied ice.  We used all of our 5 sense to explore ice cubes.

We used a magnifying glass to help us see better!
We tasted the cold ice cube!
We wrote about what we saw, tasted, felt, and smelled!

We decided to try an experiment to see how ling a container of ice would take to freeze outside on these cold days!  our science question:  How long does it take water to freeze?

We put the water outside with a thermometer.  We recorded what we saw each hour and wrote our observations.  We really thought it would freeze overnight.
The water never froze and the temperature went above freezing.  We then wondered why it freezes in the freezer!  One student decided that maybe the air in the freezer was colder than the outside air.  We put a thermometer in the freezer in the teacher's lounge and found that the temperature was 14 degrees.  We decided that it needs to be really cold to freeze water in one day.  Click here to do a related water experiment.

Epic science failure resulted in great questions and observations!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

High Frequency Words + Research

There are many ways to practice high frequency words.  Since these words are essential to fluent reading repeated exposure and memorization are crucial for students to read fluently and consistently. Students must have high-frequency words memorized to sight, otherwise, decoding will take up much time and effort.  When reading takes too long, readers becomes easily frustrated.

Click here to find the 50 words needed by Kindergarten.  You can cut them apart to make small words cards to help you sort.

 Recognizing high-frequency words by sight primarily involves memorization; and memorization comes most easily through repetition. Remember:  PRACTICE! PRACTICE!  PRACTICE!  Students need to read and write high-frequency words as often as possible.

  Remember to read/write as quickly as possible.

Sort the words into words columns.  One column of words that can be read in 5 seconds and one column of words to work on learning. 

 Make 2 copies of the words and play "Memory" with the cards!  Don't forget to read them as quickly as possible. 
Make flash cards.  REMEMBER: only practice 3 new words mixed up with7 words you already know.  It can take between 25-55 times before you can remember all of them!  Click on the picture to find the words to make.

From Radford University:

One strategy to consider when teaching and learning discreet skills is “Drill Sandwich” (Browder, D.M., & Roberts, M.L., 1993).  Here’s a basic description and simple steps that can be shared with parents and taught to students.

Drill Sandwich:
The drill sandwich strategy is a way children can practice and learn new sight words, math facts, vocabulary, spelling words, or factual information by mixing what they know with what they need to learn. This method is typically more motivating to the learner, since out of a group of ten flashcards, seven are already known. This permits the brain to focus on only learning three new pieces of information, while reviewing known (often recently learned) material. The repetition of the known material assists with its storage into long-term memory. The following are steps to building a drill sandwich:

1.) Make or obtain a set of flashcards for the information to be learned. Click here flashcards.

2.) Go through the complete stack of cards once, separating the list into two piles – knowns and unknowns. (Hint: Cards are only knowns if the information is automatic. If the child/children have to think even for a few seconds, then the card should be placed in the unknown pile for more repetition of the information.)

3.) Build a “sandwich” using seven knowns and three unknowns. Be sure to follow the pattern below. (K = known; U = unknown)

4.) Have the child/children practice identifying all ten items in the order above.

5.) As the unknown items are learned so that the response is immediate and automatic, move them into a known section of the sandwich by removing well-known knowns. Add new unknowns and begin/continue the study/learning process again.

If the Drill Sandwich strategy is applied to our example of learning a list of spelling words, a student could practice with three new words each day of the week to learn a total of twelve by Friday’s test.  Learning information in this manner is much more manageable for students, is research based and is one effective method strategy to begin closing the achievement gap for many of our students.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

High Frequency Words

Learning to quickly read words seen in books is an important skill for beginning readers.  High frequency words are 100 words that make up 50% of the words we read.  It will make the child a faster and more fluent reader.  Click here to get Flash Cards!

In kindergarten, we have 50 words to be learned quickly. Here is a copy of the words to practice.  Click on the picture to get the words free.


Our school uses PBIS to teach rules and expectations. The underlying theme is teaching behavioral expectations in the same manner as any core curriculum subject. We had an assembly to celebrate making good choices in school.  The STAR kindergarten students from each grade raced to dress me like a snowman against the STAR students from the other grades.  It was so fun!!!

Our STAR students raced to stack chairs and sort recyclables because we are working on earning the GOLDEN DUSTER!  The class that keeps their room clean for the entire week earns the duster!
I hope it will be our class!  We stack chairs, take out the trash, put all supplies back on the shelves.  We are even doing a great job of helping others!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snowy Day

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We read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.   We practiced writing a title and talked about the capital letters in a title.

Each student drew a picture of what Peter and his friend would do together, then shared the drawing and thoughts.
They had a snowball fight!

They built a snowman.

They built two snowmen!